DEPTFORD HIGH STREET
Deptford High Street
© 2010-2011 Anita Strasser.
The author retains sole copyright to the photos in this book.
Photography, like any artistic practice, is an attempt to put meaning to the world. It
comes in a multitude of forms but two stand out-the subconscious click (don't think;
snap; move on) and the embedded graft (come in, take your coat off, stay awhile). The
subconscious click is nothing of the sort; we always come to a space with a prepared and
preferring mind and most often we come home having done what we've always done and
got what we've always got. The embedded graft takes of spaces something more reflective;
and more so if the space is dynamic.
Photographing a society in moments of revolutionary change challenges the
photographer. Deptford isn't Cairo but it is within the same continuum of history. Anita
Strasser came to it in a pivotal moment of its life, chose to stay and made herself an agent
within it. Communities that are threatened seek confirming moments that give
communal solidity to their singular anxiety. The unintended consequence of The
Deptford High Street Project has been to offer a community a reflection of fellowship.
More than a mirror of disparate, isolated individuals, the Project offers a document of a
The work that has emerged from the Project reflects the photographer as a comrade,
giving to the street a solidarity and engagement that documents the daily task of staying
alive in order to stay still when the order of the day is to give way. Deptford has a history
of resistance; it now has its chronicler.
Visiting Fellow, Goldsmiths College, University of London
Organizer, The London Villages Project
Deptford High Street is the outcome of an 18-month project (2009-2011), which
aimed at utilising photographic research to meet local people, gain local knowledge
and to embed myself into the area I had just moved to. Understanding the historical,
social and political make-up of the neighbourhood where I live and knowing its
inhabitants has always been important to me. Photography is a means of establishing
contact, asking about people’s lives and trying to understand the various perspectives
on a particular area. Repeated encounters with different people, observing social
interactions and making myself known to locals slowly creates trust and familiarity.
This process of familiarisation and the collecting of stories also raises my awareness of
problems in an area (often historical and political issues) which, in turn, help me
develop an understanding of a place. It is this knowledge that then directs many of the
questions I ask. I take the photos some time during this investigatory period, some
time when I feel enough trust has been established and that the action of taking a
photo is not perceived as intrusive. We compose the shot together, with the
participant guiding the framing.
With the High Street being a focal point of Deptford, I photographed and spoke to
shopkeepers, customers and residents there, including a wide range of ages, ethnicities
and socio-economic backgrounds. I asked them to share their experiences of this
street and Deptford in general. Storytelling reduces the gulf between the
photographer / researcher and participants, which is necessary in building
relationships with the people whose history is being talked about. To encourage more
uninhibited responses when describing their lived experience of Deptford, the
comments were left anonymous and do not correspond to the images in the book.
The responses are not to be read at face value, as facts or as complete knowledge; they
are subjective perspectives of life in Deptford, but they can provide insight into how
some people experience the area, touching on a variety of themes such as regeneration
gentrification, multiculturalism, community and others. Lived experience is deeply
embedded in history; even if interpretations are subjective and often ill-informed, as
psychological “truths”, these accounts are just as important as “factually reliable”
accounts and need engaging with. These accounts of lived experiences formed the
basis of subsequent research into Deptford, trying to make sense of these accounts
which, in this project, where left to stand alone. Further projects and extensive
historical and sociological research gave me a better understanding of the social and
political history of Deptford and how/why different people perceive the changes
taking place in the area. Eventually, I decided to do a PhD at Goldsmiths, researching
the gentrification of Deptford with a participatory arts project called Deptford is
Changing: a creative exploration of the impact of gentrification, which was published
as a book in 2020 (also available on yumpu).
The photographs are the outcome of an immersive practice, which attempts to
counteract the widespread practice of Street Photography, where photographers
refrain from any kind of engagement with their subjects and have full power over how
people are (mis)represented in images. Through ongoing dialogue with my subjects
during the whole research process, participants were given shared power in
representing themselves and their community. All images were shared, discussed and
handed to participants. Overall, the project resulted in lasting friendships,
connections and other projects in the local area, which can be viewed on my website
(anitastrasser.com). The project has been exhibited in The Greenwich Gallery (2010),
St Nicholas Church (2010) and The Deptford Lounge (2014).
The Deptford High Street book is available for reading in Deptford Lounge, West
Greenwich Library, Goldsmiths Library and Special Collections.
The texts do not necessarily correlate with the order of the images.
The views expressed in the following pages do not necessarily reflect my own opinions.
BA52 ABC al
KINCSTRn , , , • • • , •
Net Café/ Baba Food & Wine
In the 1960s Deptford was an affluent area with lots of factories, where millionaires
and workers lived together. Education wasn't so important because you knew you'd
get a job. I'll tell you why you like it here: because people communicate with each
other. The feeling of community is disappearing though because the old generation
is dying out.
Deptford was completely self-sufficient at that time; you could earn a good wage
here and live well. There were lots of families living here, there was Marks &
Spencer's, Woolworth's and other good shops, and the High Street was always full
The shipyards used to be really busy and we used to jump across the barges and
nick sardines off the ships when we were kids.
My grandfather would buy ill ponies off the Russian ships. He'd get them well and
walk them to Wales to sell them. People used to walk in those days.
The amalgamation with Lewisham in the 1970s changed Deptford completely. The
'good people' were moved out and the houses were pulled down, with new highrise
buildings built for 'bad people' from all areas to move in. This turned Deptford
into a dangerous place in which you had to learn to survive.
People had guns, you couldn't look people in the eye, and you would never tell a
girl that you're from Deptford. People built tunnels to burgle - some of these still
exist - and burglaries took place every day. The days were so bad, I still have
nightmares. I've seen things that I can never tell. I needed years to be able to look
people in the eyes again.
Deptford never really recovered but it's nothing compared to what it used to
be like. What was normal then would be seen as horrendous now. Maybe
all the new development will give Deptford the chance to rise out of its ashes and
become what it once was - a wellto-do area.
A typical Saturday when I was a kid: my mum used to drag us down here on a bus.
We'd do a bit of shopping, go for breakfast off the High Street, do more shopping,
and then take a cab back to Sidcup. There used to be a guy at the market who sold
fruit and veg, and what I remember about him is, this is 36 years ago, that he kept
shouting "10 pence is 2 bob and 2 bob is 10 pence."
It used to be so lively here but now, like all London markets, it's gone a bit dead.
There is no variety - there are about 30 hairdressers, lots of food joints of
the same kind. Everything is the same. You used to be able to buy clothes here from
really good stalls and independent shops, but not now. In the past, the council
used to check how many shops of each kind there already were and would stop any
more from coming in if there were enough.
Deptford High Street has changed so much, it's unreal. Off the High Street there
were all these parallel streets with houses and three pubs on each street, then they
were knocked down - in the 70s I think. The market used to stretch from the
beginning of Douglas Way down to New Cross train station but this must have
changed when they built the current Albany and the McMillan Park. Lady Albany
built the original Albany in an attempt to get the 'gut girls' away from their work in
the 'gutting sheds' and teach them some manners, as she objected to women
having to do such work.
Manze's Pie and Mash
F.A. Albin & Sons - Funeral Directors
St Paul's Church
Business in Deptford was much better in the past. On a Saturday they used to have
13 people working in the butcher's, now they have two. It used to take up to 20
minutes to go down the busy High Street by bus. Now, the buses go down Church
Street, and there are less people on the High Street.
I started as a Saturday boy in a butcher's in the 70s. It was so busy at that time, the
queue started at 7am and we were busy till the end of the day. We sold horse meat
in those days. The Arches behind the High Street had a ramp where cows were
walked from the trains straight to the butcher's.
If people need something I haven't got, I'll get it for them. I've done that for years
and it has worked for me. Nothing much has changed - I still have the same
customers and their children and grandchildren.
Deptford is my livelihood and it's the friendliest place in the world - I genuinely
mean it. Maybe even too friendly sometimes as it puts people off when everyone
talks to you. But I've had a lot foreign students live in the space upstairs and I said
to them: "Give it two weeks and you'll love it". And they always did. We've never
had any trouble.
Deptford is not more dangerous than other
places. There might be one group of bad
people who are responsible for most of the
crime, and because they commit one crime
after another, the number of crimes is really
high. So people think that everyone is bad,
but actually it's just a few people.
Years ago there were about thirty pubs on the High Street - just around here, one
little spot, there were seven. But they couldn't build a pub on the Salvation Army
premises because it used to be a Quaker's burial ground and you can't build pubs
or breweries on Quaker ground. Now there are only two pubs left on the High
Street but you can still see some pub signs above shops. Now we've got about seven
thousand hairdressers and the betting shops.
There is lots of history in Deptford - the oldest building is next door, Johnny's DIY
from the 1700s I think, and the first murder solved by fingerprints happened down
the road; that was revolutionary.
I've met a lot of Russians ... the Tsar of Russia lived here ... I remember when the
Russians gave up, when Gorbachev was leader, a Russian submarine docked at
Deptford and a Russian was walking down the street. He was dirty and didn't know
if it was safe to be here, but he asked me if I wanted to buy a bottle of vodka off
him. I said no.
I came here in 1987 and learnt English by myself because I couldn't go to school. I
always went to the market every d ay and asked stallholders "What is that?" At the
beginning I'd ask: "Can I buy a pig?" and people laughed - not at me but just
because it was funny that somebody asked for a whole pig instead of pork.
Deptford is a good place, it's ok at night, I've never had any trouble. I know lots of
people now and Terry is a good guy, he taught me to say 'How much'. I've had 6
kids at Tidemill's with good teachers and no trouble. I'm definitely st ay ing here. I
don't mind the changes, that's how society works, if there are jobs and apartments
for people then why not?
Johnny's DIY & Building Supplies
Cut Price Carpets
Shoe Repair/ Nightingale Pharmacy/ Gallop Café/ The Waiting Room
There are a lot of good things here if you look for them, but many people just look
at the negative things. Deptford is a great place but, of course, with some problems
which actually come from the council. The housing is a big problem. I used to
work in an estate agency and I know how it works. The government houses all
people from the same group (ethnic background, social status, etc.) in the
same area, and of course, these communities get bigger. Then the council blame
these people for having a closed community and for not integrating themselves.
There are a lot of misunderstandings among people because there isn't enough
communication and information.
I've been in Deptford for 7 years and my mother has got a store which sells fruit
and veg. I'm familiar with the market here, I'm used to trading, and if you know
people and they know you, they will buy your stuff. It's also about keeping things
local, my mum recruits local people and I recruit locals. You have to support the
If the choice is an empty shop or Tesco, then
it is better to have a Tesco, because if they
invest here, others might be inspired to open
a business. Certainly, there is the risk of local
businesses dying out, but the best solution is
for all to work together to form an even
We need parking spaces! We've lost clientele due to the lack of parking. We've
been here for 25 years and have no place to park. We don't even have a
loading/unloading zone, there is nowhere, it's a real problem.
Kids Love Ink
The Waiting Room
I arrived in Deptford early 1977 and knew I wouldn't want to live anywhere else. I
lived in Speedwell House, which was given to Goldsmith's to rent out to students
for a low price. It was a good council block but we had no bathroom - there were
counters in the kitchen with lids on and under the lid was the bath. So, you'd be
having a bath while someone was cooking. Squeeze and Dire Straits used to play
around here before they became famous. But Speedwell House became infamous
because of two murders, and the council wanted to raze it to the ground without
rehousing the students. We prepared for war, even looking up recipes for Molotov
cocktails, we were so angry. The council got wind of it and rehoused everyone to
the Crossfield estate, where I still live.
Maybe the community was stronger in the past - we tried to get people together,
had anti-racist gigs and fought for integration. My political views are very much
shaped by what I saw in Deptford. I know it's not all happy here, but Deptford is
earthy, it's real, and I feel far removed from the real world when I'm in a leafy
When you said to people you were living in Deptford, they'd say "Blimey! How can
you live in such a place?" But I wasn't afraid - in those days I'd sometimes walk to
the bottom of the High Street to use the phone box at lam. I got burgled three
times, and I knew a lot of people who were up to no good. But now I wouldn't
walk alone at night anywhere because the nature of the violence has changed.
People don't just nick things, they kick you in the jaw for fun. The mentality of this
generation is drink, drugs and violence. I mean we took drugs but we did it
together, listened to reggae and talked about politics and how to change the
world. Maybe I see it all through rose-coloured spectacles.
Cafe Selecta was the first place where you could get a cappuccino, I remember it
was really exciting to be able to get that on the High Street. The first arty cafe with
exhibitions was at the top of the High Street and then The Bear Cafe took over.
Deptford evolved with the art movement, and the transformation of Creekside
brought about the train cafe. You never used to see people like the ones you see
now in the train cafe.
Art is a special act that happens occasionally, and benefits very few people. The
amount of money spent on the creative industry is a waste of money - all this
money could pave the street in marble. Instead, it's spent on creative events and
salaries to make the area arty, but art should be its own seed. I also feel that the
workshops under the arches behind the train cafe create a false sense of hope for
young kids. They are made to believe that the creative industry is an easy way to
We need to work together, including the new art scene because whilst Deptford is
known for it, it is very hidden away and is geared towards a small percentage of
people. It doesn't really involve people and artists who have lived in Deptford for
many years, and is therefore not so much part of the Deptford community.
The train cafe helped us a lot. It attracts a nice
young crowd who come venturing in and this
has brought a bit of life back. We need a
couple of more places like the train cafe.
Social Centre Plus
There's an underground art scene and some
think it'll be another Shoreditch, but it won't
because people will make sure to keep it as it is.
I've been to other High Streets in different areas, but as soon as I came here I
noticed that it was different - I had the feeling of stepping back in time. People
stand on street corners engaging with each other, they all know one another.
Deptford is different from most areas where the normal juxtaposition is a nice road
with houses and a council estate at the end of it. Here almost everyone lives in a
flat or a council estate, and this puts things into perspective as all people are on
the same level. I was brought up on a nice road in a nice house in North
London (and proud of it), but now I love living in a flat in Deptford.
Deptford High Street is heaven, there is something for everybody. I like to spread
myself around to see what places have got. They only thing I don't like are the
beggars, simply because the same people keep coming up to me asking for money.
It gets annoying after a while.
I don't like cities, they have no feeling, so what I like about here is that I don't feel
I'm living in London. Everything is on my doorstep and I can choose to access it or
ignore it. It might be the same in other areas, but I came here and feel it here.
The best thing about Deptford is the rapport and personal relationships I have
built up with customers and families over the years.
What I like is that I know people around here. I live on the High Street, and I
know my neighbours, people in the shops, and I find the nice collection of
shouting on the street calming. I actually find it difficult to leave, it's got everything
I feel like an outsider in my own place. The old generations have moved out, the
younger generation sees things differently, and I just don't feel at home here
Since coming under Lewisham Council, Deptford has gone downhill. There
are supposed to be restrictions like the use of open-grid shutters and the
pavement space outside your shop - if it's not yours you can't use it unless you pay.
But most shops use completely closed shutters, which makes the area look like a
ghost town at night, and shops just put some fruit and veg outside their shops even
though it's illegal. And the council just accepts it, they're only interested in the
money - if another bookie or butcher wants an empty shop, they can have it and
do what they want.
I don't like the new development, I'm a bit old-fashioned. I also think it's wrong
that so much money gets spent on new buildings. Why don't they look after
existing buildings and make the place look nice. We never get any money, all the
other places in Lewisham look nice but not Deptford.
There are too many betting shops and often their customers are drunk and angry.
These places rob people of their money. People complain about the fact that big
businesses (like Tesco) are destroying small, local business, but nobody seems to
realise that betting shops are nothing other than big businesses. I'm quite upset
that the Deptford Arms has been converted into another betting shop.
We need nicer places on the High Street - nicer cafes, restaurants, family places so
I can take my partner and kids somewhere nice. I don't want to sit in the chicken
places with my family. I'd go out here if there was somewhere to go like a wine bar.
COD Father's / The Egg Shop
Christie's Pork/ Deptford Market
Landis fruit seller
Café Bianca/ John Price's shop
Community is a funny old word; the creative community is looking after each
other, they exchange information. There is a sense of community all together -
different socio-economic backgrounds don't matter here.
Deptford is not a transitory place; people generally stay and want to share their
cultures. There are no tensions here between the international cultures; it's just
that many newcomers and the property developers don't really contribute to the
Deptford has this community feeling due to
the market which is at the core of its vibe.
Sadly, there is the danger of getting rid of the
market as High Street shops are complaining
of little business.
Deptford has a damaged, broken up community. On a Saturday morning, when the
sun is shining, you have the middle-class on the terrace of the train cafe reading the
Guardian - that's one side of Deptford. But the night is quite different.
People say there is a great mixture here, but communities are living in isolation.
Down at my end of the High Street I constantly hear Chinese, but where are the
different sectors of communities in the local meetings? There are only always white
people. There needs to be more engagement.
When I first arrived, there was such a nice mix of cultures and a real sense of
belonging and community. Now it's just pockets of closed communities, and the
High Street is without a community. It's a real problem for older British people -
all the pubs are gone and they have nowhere to go.
The poverty of Deptford is the poverty of relationships. Decisions about Deptford
are made by non-locals; changes come from outside influences. Who wanted
the monstrous new school? Deptford people need to get organised, change has to
come from below. They have to work more closely and focus on things that unite
and not separate them. There are too many isolated voices!
There've been hundreds of years full of fierceness, as one guy once said to me: "The
thing about Deptford is you can't tame it." But the organised fierceness, anarchy
and radicalism has got lost, now people are just angry, and local 'politics' are at a
low ebb. People need to rediscover collective action that talks about things in a
community we all want to be in.
I'm a realist - I don't see things better or make them worse than they are. What I
want to say is that Deptford is an amazing place - there is not one perspective to
sum it up. It attracts people but when they say "I love it, it's great" I ask "What do
you really think?" and they admit it's a shithole. But there is truth in both. I always
look for the good, but we have to be truthful. We need more honesty, truth and
democracy, and to listen to each other would be a good start.
I get trouble every day from the youth and I have to resist them otherwise they'll
just rob the whole place. I have to be rude and on my guard all the time, it's not
like me at all. Sometimes when there's a fight outside, a couple of youths come in
to protect themselves because they know I've got police cameras here. But the
police can't do much - they try to do their best but there should be heavier police
presence here. They just seem to look after the other end of the High Street, but
here, they just drive past.
Roots Fruit & Veg
Flower stall on market days
I love Deptford and I would never move away from here. This is where my roots
are. Many people who were born here but have moved away to Sidcup, for
example, come back to Deptford to be buried here. It's strange, but people come
back to die, and at funerals I often meet people who I have known for a long time
and whose family members we have buried. Deptford has such a close-knit
community and when someone from Deptford dies, especially people from my
generation (I am 58 this year), there are a lot of people at the funeral. And then we
reminisce about the past, we see the past through rose-coloured spectacles.
Deptford people are different, they have the community feeling instilled in them,
and I can tell you that all the Deptford people from my generation will tell you the
same. If you'd done something bad as a kid, by the time you'd get home you'd get a
dig off your mum because someone had seen you and grassed you up - everyone
knew each other. Deptford still has this close-knit community; it's just that the
place has changed so much.
In the past, we used to have a bobby on the beat who'd come in for a cup of tea
and who made sure no-one misbehaved. Now, there is no police around at all,
especially not down this end of the High Street. The High Street is like two
separate places and down here there is absolutely nothing. There used to be a lovely
flower shop and a nice butcher's down here, also an Italian cafe with good homemade
food, and a pram shop with lovely baby-wear. The whole High Street used to
be a busy, vibrant street full of characters.
You didn't use to be able to sell the same stuff the shop next door sold, but now
there is no law and order and a thousand and one hairdressers. I understand that
change is necessary, but good change! We need good change! I still love Deptford,
I'd never live anywhere else, but I wish I could turn the clock back.
People who don't complain about Deptford are people who are not from here,
don't live here, or are shop owners - they don't know what it's like, they don't
understand. The users of the market are older people, the unemployed - people
with the least amount of money. That's why pound shops and the cheap shops sell
here, people can't afford anything else. There is such a high percentage of
unemployment here as well and the job centre closed - I mean it's unreal! My son
has to go to Catford to try and get a job. The reason why the pubs have closed
down is because people can't afford to pay £3 for a pint of beer, especially when
they can get 6 cans for 2 pounds in the shop. Women don't feel comfortable going
to pubs by themselves because you never know what's going to happen.
The development around Deptford has worked in some way but not in others. The
top end has always had boozers hanging around because Carrington House used to
be behind Noodle King. It was a kind of hostel for people with little money
and you had to be there at a certain time otherwise you wouldn't get in. That's
been turned into luxury homes and has left no place for the other people
with no money.
Rent prices are going up, but people bury their heads in the sand and hope for the
best. I'm the sole earner in my household, the rent's going up £10, I can
just about afford that, but other people ... ? And then they invest £3,000,000 in the
new train station development, why so much money? It's only so they can
put Deptford on the tourist map, not for local people, and with it
they're erasing another bit of Deptford history by destroying the ramps at
the back which they used to bring live cattle to the butcher's. They're also building
this new school that people won't be able to afford.
Corner Juice Bar (Tandoori Express)
The Train Café
The Deptford Project - Train Café
We didn't have much money when we were young and sometimes we had to go
and rob a big store - you'd never steal from a small shop-owner or mug anyone.
We'd fill a shopping trolley and ask the people in the store if we could leave it
there. Then, after their shift was over and the new staff had come in, we'd go and say
"We' re just collecting our stuff' and leave without paying. We pushed it to the
limits, but we had to because we had to survive. I have 6 kids and when the giro
hadn't come through because someone else had got hold of it or the postman
hadn't put it through the door, or you'd forgotten to get a new benefit book, you
knew you'd be without money for a month. You could have a tab in the shops
because they knew you but once it reached £5 pound you couldn't get any more.
The shop-owners knew they wouldn't get the money because they knew you didn't
have it, so they set the limit at that, but only because they knew who you were. You
couldn't do that today. But when you had no money and you needed baby milk and
nappies, we had to rob the shop. We didn't do it often, just every 6 months or so,
and we were very careful. But at the same time you weren't afraid of getting booked
because you knew all the Bobbies and in those days, when you had to spend a night
at the station, you'd get a cup of tea and an egg sandwich in the morning. That
wasn't so bad. I got arrested once because I just swung my leg and the local Bobby
thought I was going to kick the shop window in. I tried to explain but it was no
use. Their motto at the time was "get them young and that'll sort them out for the
future". Another time I got arrested when we'd had a big night out and were
pissed and just sat down on the street because we couldn't walk anymore. Instead of
walking us home the 50m like they'd do today, they just arrested us. The big
shops don't lose anything by you robbing them, so that wasn't so bad. But you
would never ever steal from a local person, or a small shop-owner, never! There
were no muggings in those days, or gun crime. Only the big fish had guns and
you wouldn't go near them, but it was always just fists - that was the rule in a
one-on-one fight, no tools. Not like now!
You'd never mug anyone because if you did you'd be sure that someone would
find out and you'd be killed for that, especially for harming an older person. The
older people were respected at that time - they'd been through so much and
they'd know so many people and you didn't know what kind of contacts they
had - could have been to the Krays or other big fish and you could be sure
you'd be found out. Someone I know was arrested once and was put in a cell
with someone who'd mugged an older woman - the police had to clean up
the blood after that from the cell. But now, there's no respect, people don't
know each other so well anymore, don't talk to each other, don't know who
lives next door. I still know lots of people, the people who work in some of the
shops now are the children of the previous shop-owners, the children who I've
known since they were little. Some of them went to school with my kids. I
am a very loyal customer, I go to the same shops I've been going for years and I
know I could go somewhere else, but they've been kind to me all these years and if
they don't have something I need, they'll get it for me - that wouldn't
work in other shops. They were good days, you had to be tough and I was very
bolshie, but you had to deal with a lot of things.
Growing up in Deptford was great; we played
outside in the streets, knew all the neighbours
and looked out for each other. Now we have
gangs with kids I've known since they were in
their nappies, but that doesn't protect you
anymore like it used to. Old people are too
scared to go out nowadays as the gangs
congregate outside their homes because they
know the old people are too scared to kick
off. There is not enough police around.
Our Lady of the Assumption
Deptford Train Station
Deptford has this real market culture; some people don't understand the concept
'shop'. They don't think that clothes have price labels so they grab a lot of stuff,
dump it on the counter and ask how much it is. They start haggling because they
are used to trading. They don't understand that things are priced. Once it came to
£65 but the customer must have understood more as he then offered me £70.
When I told him that he can pay 70 if he wants to but that the price is 65, he
started haggling for less. I told him that he had just been willing to pay 70 but
realised that this wasn't the point. He just didn't want to pay full price. It's so
funny sometimes, but I've become a bit of a 'shop snob'.
The development around Deptford is good - it makes it look nicer. We need more
bigger-name shops like Tesco - everyone was happy to have a big name on the High
Street. We need to move the traffic away from the market area, there is too much
clutter. I think there will be money to improve the High Street - what's the point
of putting up the new school and doing up the train station and not making the
rest of it look nicer? We should maintain the place and be proud of where we're
from - we all want to live in a nice place.
People have changed; now they go to shopping
centres were everything is in one place and
were they can park. On the High Street, there
didn't used to be parking restrictions but now
you get a ticket straight away and it costs £40-
50. The specialist shops will survive - people
don't go to a shopping centre just to have a
key cut, they do that when walking past here -
but small grocery stores might die out.
On market day
A & S Hairdressing Salon
Deptford itself is not my home; home is where my family is. I've got a degree, I've
travelled the world, but after 5 years overseas I thought that's enough life
experience and I got homesick. So, I came to where my parents are, and that's here.
It's great to work with my family, we work hard - our parents taught us to - but I
am very happy here, happy to be with my family.
There is a sense of community in Deptford as everyone knows everyone, but
communities aren't integrated, especially the older generation. You can notice an
overlap in the younger people who are ignoring cultural barriers. There are more
interracial marriages and gradually, generation by generation, communities will be
It's a nice mixture, from one extreme to another; there is also the extremes of the
classes. When we came here 14 years ago, Deptford was a very strong working class
area and over the years it has become hipper. The housing development all around
has made it more populated which is good for business, but also creates
tensions between the white middle-class on one side, and the working class mixture
of races on the other side.
There are always people with more money who have other opportunities, and that's
why it's never going to be just one community. Especially the generation now in
their late 20s early 30s - if they have money they'll send their kids to private
schools, not state schools around here.
I like Deptford - there are people from all ethnic backgrounds and anyone can be
who they want to be. It's a nice mix of people who are very friendly and helpful. I
am from Nigeria and I can buy all the Nigerian food on the High Street, it's great.
Goddard's Pie and Mash
Sewing Machine Centre
As a priest you are sent to a place, it's not a matter of choice. Five years ago, the
Bishop phoned and sent me to Deptford. I didn't know anything about Deptford,
so I sneaked into mass and sat in the back row, looked around and thought: "This
is where I'm going". The first impression of the High Street wasn't good but my
motto is: Bloom where you are planted. It wasn't an accident or a coincidence that
I came here. God uses different instruments to administer, and I've come to serve
It's an interesting and challenging place with a multicultural congregation. It's one
thing to work amidst your own people, but to minister to people you don't know,
people from all different areas, countries with different languages and cultures, and
the sensitivity that goes with it, is a challenge.
Deptford is a huge melting pot with multiculturalism which actually works - that's
the amazing thing; it works here which makes it a good role model. Everyone has
different ideas which add to the area, which make it unique. Deptford is about the
people, they are wonderful, they are the salt of the earth. Deptford is brilliant, but
they don't put enough money into it. If a bit of development went into it, it could
be a better place. Deptford has changed, but you know, time doesn't stand still,
and you should always look forward. It's not all bad in Deptford - we set up our
business here and have expanded to Maidstone due to the success here in
Deptford. We invest in new technology and a lot goes on in this shop. I've
employed a local guy, a guy who was born and bred here, so I'm making an effort
to keep the money in Deptford. We also supply all schools in the area. People need
to know that it's positive here in Deptford, you can find new technology of the
highest standard and can have a successful business.
West Lake -Traditional Vietnamese Cuisine